By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Newsom & Biden love using scare tactics

Oh brother.

President Biden’s visit to Santa Cruz County last week gave Newsom a chance to pose in front of the presidential seal. (I remember the days when the presidential seal wasn’t hung until the president approached the podium to speak.) Make no mistake, Newsom is licking his chops to take over, whether in 2025 or 2029. He wants to extend his failed leadership to the rest of the country as he’s done in California.

Boys and girls, the special word in the governor’s speech was “mega.” Newsom suggested that the recent storms were “mega” floods – the worst in 1,200 years, he said although not as bad as the flood of 1862. I’m pretty sure there were no weather stations in California in 823 AD so he can make that claim all he wants without any record to back up his ludicrous claim but if the governor repeats it enough, the gullible among us will parrot it back in circle of friends.

And someone might point out to the governor that the Central Valley would be a giant lake right now if it wasn’t for the vision of men who built the Don Pedro Dam in 1922 and later expanded it in 1971, as well as build the New Melones in 1979 to hold back those floodwaters. But if we had a Newsom type governor back in the 1920s instead of Republican Gov. William Stephens, we’d all be living in a flood plain.

Floods are common on the planet and always have been. But Americans are ignorant of their history.

The Mississippi River flooded in 1927, killing 500 and displacing 630,000 people. President Coolidge didn’t blame it on climate change. The same river flooded in 1993, killing 32 and causing $15 billion in damage.

Aside from the 1862 flood, California experienced floods in 212, 440, 603, 1029, 1300, 1605, 1750, 1605, 1825, 1909, 1933, 1937, 1938, 1950, 1955, 1962, 1964, 1982, 1986, 1995, 1997, 2005 and 2017. So tell me why we should expect to be immune from the natural occurrence of floods?

Locally, before there was a New Melones Dam on the Stanislaus River, the town of Knights Ferry was inundated in the 1955 flood. I’m sure all of us can appreciate the tremendous value dams have in preventing Ceres and Modesto from flooding.

Newsom continued using the word “mega” with regard to the drought. Just know the use of the word “mega” is deliberate and intended to scare you into submission. If anyone believes that they need their head examined.

Biden then took the mic and suggested that “if anybody else doubts that climate is changing, then they must have been asleep the last couple of years.” Talk about politicizing weather!

Alexander Gershunov, a climate scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, opined that the storms had little or nothing to do with so-called climate change, saying there are “mediaologists who hype the current situation to make it seem worse than the last one.”

And why are people – and capitalizing politicians – shocked when things built on the very edge of the coastline, like roads, houses and piers, fall victim to an eroding coastline during a natural storm? Yeah, we know, throw millions of federal disaster relief at the problem to make things all better. I mean, we’re only $31 trillion in debt right now.

Earth to Biden: everything is in a constant state of change, including our bodies. Before Biden’s great-great-grandfather was a gleam in his father’s eye, California was experiencing droughts and floods and fires. That’s what the earth does. And it happened long before Henry Ford rolled his first car off the assembly line in Dearborn.

Since the earth began different areas of the country have experienced drought. It’s a natural occurrence. California had a six-year drought from 1929 to 1934, a two-year drought of 1976-77 and a six-year dry spell from 1987 to 1992. Even this truthful statement from the California Department of Water Resources: “California is no stranger to drought; it is a recurring feature of our climate.”

The problem is, of course, is that the party in charge opposes planning for them by building more dams.

Make no mistake, the climate change crowd is driven by three things: taxes, extremist environmental policy and control of the minions. They are the ultimate egomaniacs who thrust their middle finger to us -- and the Almighty.

* * * * *

Speaking of Gov. Stephens, he said in his Inaugural Address of Jan. 7, 1919: “It must be shown that such government imposes a minimum of burdens and provides a maximum of benefits; that the average industrious and right minded citizen, living under a government such as ours, not only enjoys a larger personal freedom than he would have under any other form of government, but that as well he is enabled to secure for himself and for his family a larger share of the necessities and the comforts of life.”

* * * * *

When I was a young child living in Milpitas, I remember how my mom had to go to work at a bank to help make ends meet. The highlight of the week was mom taking me and my brother out to eat a burger somewhere. It felt special, a time to be closer and I think that’s where I developed my lifelong affinity for dining out.

I probably eat out more than the average person. But it’s getting to the point where I need to scale back. The prices are killing the buzz.

I’ve been eating out so regularly that I failed to look at my receipts. A few weeks back I wondered why a drink and a breakfast burrito at Carl’s Jr. was so much – even with a coupon. Reality hit me in the face when I glanced at the receipt to see that Carl’s charged $4.37 for a large soda. Can you say Disneyland prices? Never mind that Circle K will charge 89 cents for a large soda, so I refuse to pay Disneyland soda prices at Carl’s.

It’s already a ghost town in fast-food places compared to just five years ago.

Even the day after the opening of In-N-Out Burger in Ceres, the lunch crowd seemed quite thin.

On Wednesday I went to McDonald’s to get two of their “cheapest” burgers, a medium fry and a large drink ($1) and it came to over $11. It used to be $5-$6 about seven to eight years ago.

Then on Thursday last week I had lunch with my daughter and new grandson at Farmer Boys in Ceres. The cost for two sandwiches, one order of fried zucchini and one soft drink came to $25.01. I noticed how empty the dining room was. From 12 p.m. to about 12:49 p.m. aside from us, there were six people occupying three booths, leaving nine booths and all of the six double sets of tables empty. Tell me how great the Biden economy is.

The high prices, based on my observation, are killing the fast-food industry.

Minimum wage hikes in California have done much to slow fast-food trade by increasing prices. The state’s shutdown of life during the pandemic also made things more expensive by slowing production and creating supply chain issues. Given the Democrats’ way, further damage will be done to the economy.

The 2022 Kosmont-Rose Institute Cost of Doing Business Survey found that 64 percent of businesses have left California over the past 30 years and relocated to lower-cost states, namely Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Oregon. Las Vegas was the top city of choice, taking in 2,832 relocating California businesses between 1990 and 2019. 

Labor costs are a chief reason for the exodus. Expect more to leave now that the minimum wage increased to $15.50 per hour on Jan. 1, which is more than double that of Texas, Idaho and Utah.

Larry Kosmont, chairman and CEO of Kosmont Companies, suggested that businesses which want to stay in California should have a come-to-Jesus experience and “ask themselves if they have a strategic or operational reason for being in California; otherwise, the state’s higher prices pose a real challenge to running a profitable enterprise.”

The Newsom regime keeps putting the thumb screws to business. Consider how Newsom signed into law yet another government overreach, AB 257, dubbed the FAST Recovery Act or the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act. It should be called the “Killing off Fast Food Trade Act.” It’s yet another attempt of Democrats to buy the votes of the uneducated, because let’s face it educated folks aren’t going to settle for an entry-level job with McDonald’s.

AB 257 would have taken effect Jan. 1 if weren’t for a lawsuit and a Sacramento County Superior Court temporarily halting the law which would create a state-appointed council to negotiate pay and hours in the fast-food industry. A group named Save Local Restaurants filed a lawsuit in December saying California couldn’t enact the new law as planned since they submitted a petition on Dec. 5 signed by more than a million Californian voters to place the measure on the ballot in November. That means labor and business will have a showdown this November with the proposition likely to win support of a public already reeling from high food and gas prices.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Restaurant Association and the International Franchise Association all say the law unfairly singles out the fast-food industry and will increase labor costs and thus drive up food prices.

AB 257 would form a 10-member council to establish standards for safety and working conditions. The council could increase the state minimum wage up to $22 per hour in 2023 and by up to 3.5 percent annually after that. It also could set minimum standards for maximum hours worked, working conditions and workplace security.  If you think fast-food is expensive now, what do you think happens if the Democrats get their way?

There are folks in the local newspaper business making less than $17 an hour and the state wants a burger flipper to earn $22 per hour? On what planet does that make sense? Let’s try a little common sense:  If you force restaurants to pay more for labor, prices will go higher than they already are, pricing more customers out of the market and then restaurants will lay off workers – or add more of those annoying self-check kiosks. Anyone who supports this should have their head examined.

I must remember, wages of part-time fast-food workers were never intended for people to support themselves on their own, especially in a state that has high rents because leadership has failed to produce enough housing!

I have mentioned the detrimental effect that CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act) has had on development in our state. It’s the law that Citizens for Ceres used to fight the Walmart Supercenter for 14 years! It’s also the law which just halted plans for a student housing project on the UC Berkeley campus.

CEQA was intended to make development environmentally sane in California but it is retarding development! It needs to be repealed or modified but that’s not anything the party in charge will support.

* * * * *

Besides egg prices, have you noticed how high your heating bill is?

My latest bill is $396.80! The bill paid in December was $305.89!

PG&E is California’s largest natural gas and electricity provider. It has been allowed to increase its rates in 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022. It’s not just supply and demand impacting rates – it is the cost of the wildfires its equipment has caused in recent years.

PG&E has also filed another letter of intent to raise rates by 19% in 2023.

Experts say the problem isn’t just PG&E – it’s the fact that since the USA is capable of exporting more gas to other countries, there’s been more competition in the world market and the price has gone up. Factor in the Freeport LNG plant explosion in June that knocked out production for 20 percent of American LNG capacity, inflation and a cold snap and you have jaw-dropping bills.

* * * * *

Goshen is 125 miles away from Ceres on Highway 99 so I think I speak for most of us in the Valley community when I say the news of a horrific crime last week felt a little personal. The sheriff believes the killing of six people – including a 10-month-old baby – had all the earmarks of a cartel hit.

It’s hard for normal, peaceful people to even imagine how evil and depraved a soul has to be in order to commit such a dastardly deed. We can only hope the human debris are captured and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law – a life behind bars since our governor likes to protect murderers from Death Row.

In the words of “Land of Confusion,” Phil Collins sings, “There’s too many men, too many people making too many problems and not much love to go round. Can’t you see? This is a land of confusion.”

Former Los Angeles Police Assistant Chief of Police Robert Vernon pondered about the evilness that resides in the hearts of thugs.

Vernon believes we have a world of confusion because “the guiding plumb line has vanished.”

In his book, Vernon spells out the root causes of the evil criminals:

1). Abandonment of our children (because children are not growing up in loving and supportive families). Life has become cheap to some because of the “things are more important than people” mentality. He writes, “Many young people today lack a healthy sense of self-worth... they see no value in themselves. Their lives are miserable. And if they’re just a bunch of garbage waiting to decay, so is everyone else.” He concludes valuing things and money above people is one of the true causes of our culture’s destruction.

2). Hedonism, or the pursuit of pleasure, whether it be drugs or sex. He concludes that single-parent households are at greater risk for experiencing a variety of behavioral and educational problems.

3). Loss of conscience. Vernon suggests that all have taken actions that later caused shame, but generally feel remorse or guilt. When the moral laws have been violated, he suggests that many today flaunt it. “The trend is to no longer be ashamed of our darker side,” he wrote.

4). Neglect of principles, in particular Judeo-Christian principles, including lifetime family commitment, submission to authority, respect for others’ property, patriotism and loyalty to country, honesty and integrity, the moral connection between love, marriage and sex, and the recognition of and accountability to a higher power.

5). Arrogant elitism. He suggests that elitist politicians “can’t yield power without a constituency.” 

It’s clear that good people must act to take back their country.

* * * * *

What kind of country do we want? One that still values freedom?

A mall cop at the Mall of America in Minneapolis made the news because on Jan. 7 he demand that a man leave because of the neon green shirt he was wearing. On the front it read: “Jesus Saves.” The back said “Jesus is the only way,” with the recognizable “coexist” sign crossed out.

Video of the incident showed a security guard telling Paul Shoro that someone complained they were offended by the message.

It’s a choice to be offended or not. And yes you are free to choose, but be advised of the words of the prophet Isaiah in the Bible: “Every knee will bow, every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.”

 This column is the opinion of Jeff Benziger, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Ceres Courier or 209 Multimedia Corporation.  How do you feel about this? Let Jeff know at